15.11.2006 at 19:30 Lansdowne Road
Republic of Ireland
5 - 0
Referee: Lassin Isaksen (Faroe Islands)
European Cup Qualifier-match
Republic of Ireland 5 San Marino 0
Steve Staunton's unwanted run of five matches without a victory finally came to an end with an expected triumph over a side with a reputation of being the worst in Europe.
Republic of Ireland manager Staunton started his reign earlier in the year with a 3-0 thumping of Sweden, but since then little has gone right for the 37-year-old.
Against San Marino in this Euro 2008 qualifier Ireland did what they had to do, with captain Robbie Keane ultimately taking his all-time leading goalscorer's tally to 28 with a hat-trick.
The Tottenham striker was joined on the scoresheet by Kevin Doyle, the Reading forward netting the first for his country on his fifth appearance, with the win initiated by Andy Reid with a goal credited to the Charlton midfielder - despite his free-kick taking a wicked deflection off the face of Davide Simoncini.
While the scoreline failed to match the 13-0 and 7-0 hidings handed out to San Marino by Germany and the Czech Republic in their first two Group D matches, at least Ireland have a win under their belt.
San Marino were not expected to offer stern resistance, not when you consider they had lost all 36 of their previous European Championship qualifying games, conceding 163 goals into the bargain.
However, in the back of the mind the memory of the debacle in Cyprus was still fresh when Ireland were humiliated 5-2 just over five weeks ago.
A semblance of pride was at least salvaged a few days later when the Republic produced the most captivating of performances with a 1-1 draw against the highly-fancied Czechs.
On that night, with Staunton's job seemingly on the line and the players having been criticised from all quarters, the supporters lived up to their reputation for being the best in the world.
Lansdowne Road reverberated that night, with the famed 'roar' undoubtedly in evidence as they backed the players from first whistle to last.
It is on nights such as those that this dilapidated stadium will be remembered, rather than on occasions like this as the calibre of the opposition was hardly conducive to stirring the senses.
This was the last football international to be played at the Dublin ground as work is due to start next year on a £260million, 50,000 all-seater venue to be erected in its place.
At least the Republic signed off in style, with the fans having to wait only six minutes for the opening goal.
It was a moment Simoncini will want to forget in a hurry as it was his foul on Doyle that lead to Reid sizing up the free-kick.
From 20 yards, Reid's left-foot curler struck Simoncini on the forehead, with the ball deflecting past wrong-footed goalkeeper Federico Valentini.
Doyle and Wigan midfielder Kevin Kilbane both had chances to add to the score at that stage, albeit with Ireland playing at a canter rather than the high tempo perhaps needed to make light work of their opponents.
After Keane had planted a 12-yard header narrowly wide from a Kilbane cross, Ireland added their second in the 24th minute, with the moment the 23-year-old Doyle had been waiting for.
Kilbane was again the supplier from the left, with Doyle's header crossing the line off the underside of the crossbar after looping over the outstretched grasp of Valentini.
Kilbane then proceeded to waste two headed opportunities, but at least he was in a creative mood as he instigated the 31st-minute move that culminated in Keane netting his first of the night.
Doyle and Reid played their part, with the latter playing Kilbane in on the overlap for a cross to an all-alone Keane who initially chested the ball down before side footing past Valentini.
Then 90 seconds before the break came San Marino's best chance of the match with captain Andy Selva curling a 25-yard free-kick wide of the left-hand post after he had been fouled by Paul McShane.
A slow start to the second-half was eventually punctuated in the 58th minute, with Keane sending Valentini the wrong way from the spot after McShane had been upended in the area by Simone Bacciocchi.
Again a further lull followed, with McShane going close with a header in the 70th minute before Keane completed his three-goal haul in the 85th minute.
Reid delivered a precise ball from the left into the heart of the area where Keane stooped low to head home from four yards.
In the closing stages centre-back Richard Dunne and Damien Duff came close to adding a sixth, but in the end a five-star show was enough for Staunton.
Rep of Ireland: Given, Finnan, McShane, Dunne, O'Shea, Carsley (Douglas 50), Kilbane (Lee 79), Reid, Duff, Doyle (McGeady 63), Keane.
Subs Not Used: Henderson, Kelly, Elliott, Morrison.
Goals: Reid 7, Doyle 24, Keane 31, 58 pen, 85.
San Marino: Federico Valentini, Bugli, Nicola Albani, Bacciocchi, Davide Simoncini (Bonini 81), Vannucci (Crescentini 72), Carlo Valentini, Andreini,Mariotti (Michele Marani 59), Manuel Marani, Selva.
Subs Not Used: Aldo Simoncini, Moretti, Ciacci, Domeniconi.
Booked: Manuel Marani.